Why You Need A Plan
I have said many times that the biggest mistake for first-time filmmakers is trying to do too much in the beginning. Don’t make this mistake. The first thing is to ask yourself the simple question: Why am I doing this?
Look into your heart and consider the things you really care about. There is no wrong answer and your plans may change over time but it is important to try to come up with an answer to this classic question. Then tape it up somewhere that you will see it often.
Becoming a filmmaker requires much time and dedication and you aren’t going to do it unless the goal is something you really want. You should probably write it down as a “mission statement” as some filmmakers strongly suggest.
Discover Your Filmmaking Plan
Now that you have defined what you want to do with filmmaking you can start to plan how to get there. On 4Filmmaking.com I assume that you want to learn how to be a well known independent filmmaker creating films that are both artistically satisfying and financially successful. I am about to describe the simple plan that has been used in some style by most of the well known independent filmmakers in Hollywood. You can use it as a beginning point to develop your own plan.
The Unpleasant Fact About Filmmaking
I would not be fully honest if I didn’t begin by warning you that your odds of succeeding in being a famous and successful independent filmmaker are extremely small. There are many other people wanting to do it and only a few are going to make it. You’ll have to be tireless following your filmmaking goals, make the most of your abilities, keep going despite setbacks and find more than a little bit of luck along the way.
The Not-So-Secret Plan for Succeeding as an Independent Filmmaker
Step 1 is to make a series of very short movies while you study, take classes, read books, meet other filmmakers and generally do everything you can to get smart and find filmmaking collaborators. Your films will be three to ten minute short movies that you possibly can film in a day or two on a weekend, starting using only your friends and the bribe of free food and drink at the end of the shoot.
Making movies involves many skills and many helpers cooperating together. That is why you need to be looking for collaborators, other sharp and clever people who share your filmmaking dreams and add to your skills. The first step is where you learn the basic skills of filmmaking.
Step 2 is to create better and better short films until you finally have one good enough to get you into film festivals.
This will begin to get you on the radar screen, give you more chances to meet with other movie makers gaining more collaborators, and get a sense of audience acceptance of your films. You’ll observe that acquisition agents follow the festival circuit to negotiate for the best indie films from the very best filmmakers. This second step is about expanding your artistic filmmaking horizons and learning how indie films get marketed.
Step 3 is to keep developing better and finer story ideas until everyone you know is convinced you have a Great Idea.
The Great Idea has to be a story that can be filmed inexpensively. You script it into a compelling feature length screenplay. You will also create a brilliant short version drawn from the feature screenplay that can possibly be made for what you can pay out of your own pocket. You’ll show this short version at festivals and to anyone who might consider financing the feature length version.
This short film is a calling-card, a teaser and marketing tool to show investors fabulous you’re so they will pay you to turn your Great Idea into the Great Movie.
Step 4 is to make the movie, show it at film festivals to great acclaim, sell it to distributors, and watch it become a huge success. At the same time you will need to be developing more ideas so you always have an answer to the question, “What’s the next project?”
After step 4 you should be on the map and you will get phone calls from people who wouldn’t have given you the time of day last week but now they want to talk about paying for your next film. A variation on this plan is to not make the short film version by coming up with a brilliantly clever feature film that you can shoot so cheaply that you don’t need a lot of money.
Does This Plan Work?
If you look in the Internet Movie Database you will find that George Lucas began by making five very short films that have never been seen. Then while in film school he made a 15 minute science fiction short called Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB. The film got him first prize in the National Student Film Festival.
That helped him win a scholarship to work with Francis Ford Coppola at Warner Brothers. They became friends, created a company together and the first film they made was the feature length version of THX 1138. The tiny success of this film helped him get money to make American Graffiti. The larger success of American Graffiti got him money to make Star Wars.
Now George Lucas is the most recognized independent filmmaker in the world.
© 2007 Copyright, Jerry Anderson
Learn all the basics of getting started in filmmaking at 4Filmmaking.com, your complete online free film school. Jerry Anderson is an aspiring filmmaker and “the Professor” at 4Filmmaking.com.
learnfilmonline.com – Learnfilmonline.com breaks down the mental barriers that old traditional film schools put in our head, and guarantees your success, as long as you follow our reel principles. So set your browsers to learnfilmonline.com, and watch your dream manifest on the big screen.
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Question by dani-ro: What are examples of filmmaking styles?
I’m working on a presentation for school about filmmaking styles and how different directors use a particular or mix of styles in their films. I’m not quite sure about the exact definition of any one style. Does it include genres such as comedy/humor? Can anybody give me examples of filmmaking styles? Thank you!
Answer by scorpius59
color…black & white ?
Give your answer to this question below!
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